First race of the season...not the start I had been hoping for, but nevertheless, another racing experience. I think after last season, I have so much motivation for racing and racing well. I really don't think anyone knows that things don't always work out as planned better than I do, but part of the game is rolling with the punches. My training throughout up until about 3 weeks ago (aside from the calf strain) has been awesome. My swim, bike, and run (before calf) has been the best ever. So of course I was excited for racing to start.....
Then there was my calf issue, which really truly did not upset me too much. I knew it was something that happens and I knew it wouldn't last forever. Then my calf started to feel better, but I started to feel...not so great. A little more tired and exhausted than I should have been. Being the type A- triathlete that I think I am - I kept pushing through. You really think I would have learned by now, but it is so tough when you want something so bad. One thing that I don't think about too much is how much stress I put on my body. Training is one thing, but work is another. Working full time as an elementary school PE teacher is draining! And couple that with lots and lots of training - it can be dangerous. I think I do everything that I should do (eat very healthy, get 8 hours of sleep, etc.) but sometimes it can be do much. I have finally realized that I. can't. do. it. all!
I flew into Florida friday night after working all day, and my great friend Amy picked me up for the airport. We went strait to the hotel and went right to bed. I skipped a yummy gluten free QT2 team breakfast in order to try to sleep in and put together my bike. Everything went well Saturday for check in, race meeting, and finding food. Race morning came way too soon. As the alarm went off at 3:45, I felt like I could have slept for another 6 solid hours. Usually I feel awake and buzzing with excitement. We made it to the race smooth sailing and before I knew it, into the water for warm up. I have to say I loved that I could see the entire swim course right from the beach. The gun went off, and almost immediately I was on my own. I almost always find feet, but looking at the results, I was in no man's land. There wasn't anyone within 2 minutes before or after me. The first half of the swim was uneventful, but the second half seemed really really hard. That was only a sign of what was to come. I got out of the water and wanted to flop onto the beach and nap. Although my time was OK - I didn't feel great.
Onto the bike. I was super confident going into the bike. I had been putting in lots of time and really knew what kind of wattages I could hold. My body just had a different idea than my head. My heart rate was super sky high right away with really low wattages. I also felt very hungry, which is an odd feeling while racing. I kept telling myself to 'settle in, things will come around'. At this point three girls caught me and that kept me pushing and engaged for a while, but soon I didn't have the energy to keep pushing. That is when things got really tough. The whole time, I just wanted to pull my bike over and lay in the grass and eat an orange from one of the orange trees. I was in damage control mode at this point. I was truly soft pedaling and my wattages were that of a recovery ride. I have never felt this crappy during a triathlon before. I was going mile to mile...on the bike! I finally made it into transition and for the first time in my triathlon career thought about dropping out. But then the only thing I could think of was my students and how I always tell them to never give up. I thought I couldn't possibly go into work tomorrow and tell my students that I did a triathlon and I didn't finish.
The run. At this point it was hot, and I haven't seen the sun since I was in Cozumel in November. I knew right away that I was just going to have to tough it out. A really bad sign was when I looked at my watch when I thought something was wrong when it didn't automatically lap at a mile. I realized I had only been running 3 minutes and 18 seconds. And that was pretty much how the run went. It felt like long, hot, hilly, painful miles.
In summary, I was very disappointed with the race. I know I am capable of more. I am proud that I didn't give up though, and I really don't take for granted every opportunity that I get to race. I also finally realized this week that I dug myself into a little exhaustion hole. I finally listened to my body this weekend and took some days off. I slept for 12 hours two nights in a row, which tells me that my body is trying to say relax!
As endurance athletes - we push our bodies to the limit and sometimes we ignore the signals because we want to see how far, how fast, how deep we can get. Training in general is so physically and mentally demanding. I have so much respect for the people that train and work full time. And/or for the people that train and have kids that have managed to figure it out. I clearly have not succeeded in this, but I will keep at it!